- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Texarkana Gazette. Oct. 22, 2017.

This is the time conspiracy theorists have been anticipating for 25 years. In just a few days they will have access to their Holy Grail, their ultimate prize.

Or will they?

For more than half a century, what really happened Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas has fascinated the world. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy has spurred at least two official government investigations, thousands of books and articles, movies and documentaries and an untold number of conspiracy theories.

Many of the records in the case are still under government lock and key, which has led to even more speculation about just what the powers that be are “hiding” from the public. Well, on Thursday the gates open. The information will finally be released. And heaven knows what will come of it.

The JFK Records Act of 1992 ordered the release of the remaining classified assassination files by Oct. 26, 2017.

We suspect most will be disappointed. It’s doubtful there is any smoking gun in the files. And the lack of any definite answer will probably lead to even more rumors and accusations of a cover-up.

That’s just the nature of the conspiracy beast. No one who follows such dark plots is ever satisfied. There is always more to uncover, more plots to unmask.

Besides, the JFK assassination is an industry. Lots of money is still being made. And we suspect a lot more will be made after Thursday_if the records are made public, that is.

President Donald Trump could, citing national security concerns, still block the release of some or all of the documents. We don’t expect that to happen. But if it does, watch out.

Can you imagine what the conspiracy crowd would make of that?

___

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Oct. 24, 2017.

Arkansas’ native son and one of the country’s brightest hopes - Tom Cotton - has done more than his share of fundraising for the Grand Old Party, which keeps renewing itself even in these strange Trumpian times. Not too long ago, Sen. Cotton dropped in on Iowa, which casts the country’s first votes for president every four years. Surely it’s more than coincidence that Tom Cotton keeps popping up in states that hold early presidential primaries or caucuses. And now it’s California here he comes.

It’s not easy being a Republican in that populous state, but it’s far from impossible. California does send 14 Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives, though it also sends 39 Democratic congressmen and women. The chairman of that state’s Republican Party - Jim Brulte - says the junior senator from Arkansas can “provide a vision for Republicans moving forward.” But in that state it’s sure to be a long, uphill slog. For both its United States senators are Democrats, and in last year’s presidential election Hillary Clinton carried the Golden State by more than 4 million votes. Republicans are clearly outnumbered there, but they needn’t be outfought.

Always a fighter in uniform or out, formerly Capt. Tom Cotton says of California: “Given its size, there’s still a lot of Republicans there. They’re a critical part of our (congressional) majority, and California’s our largest state. It ought not to be neglected.” Or as they used to say in Tom Cotton’s Army, it’s a target-rich environment. With that many people, it certainly should not be neglected, for to change the minds of a few million here, and a few million there, pretty soon you’re talking about a lot of votes.

So when Sen. Cotton was asked to speak at the Republicans’ state convention in Anaheim, he wasted no time accepting the invitation. After all, he’s got a great success story to tell about what all the GOP has accomplished here in Arkansas, which has gone from being part of the solid (and Democratic) South to become an overwhelmingly Republican state. Once upon a time, Arkansas had one crop (cotton), one issue (race), and one party (Democratic). But how things have changed. Now it’s not only got a two-party system, which was the dream of this state’s Republicans for years, but one that the GOP now dominates.

“When they invited me,” Senator Cotton says about addressing California’s Republicans, “I was eager to come out and share a little about what I think is happening in our country and what our party has done back home in Arkansas. If we can gain the offices that we’ve won over the last 10 years in Arkansas, then there’s no reason that any state can’t do something similar.” After all, Arkansas was pretty much a Democratic state for more than a century. Now, like much of Dixie, it’s become a Republican stronghold. Talk about a turnaround, it’s just about a complete one. Republicans out in California may now have little more than hope to sustain them, but in Arkansas they have an example of what a determined GOP with the right leaders - like Tom Cotton, Asa Hutchinson, John Boozman, French Hill and the late great Winthrop Rockefeller - can bring to fruition.

But what if one of those leaders, specifically Tom Cotton, should up and join the administration rather than staying in the U.S. Senate? By now Tom Cotton has been touted for just about every top job in Washington from secretary of defense to head of the Central Intelligence Agency. So would he accept one of those plum assignments? He says no.

As a member of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees, Senator Cotton makes a far better man to consult than recruit as a member of this administration, For him to join it would be a step down, not up. As far as California is concerned, Senator Cotton surely knows it may be a great place to visit but, as with many another tourist mecca, he doubtless wouldn’t choose to live there. Which is a wise decision on his part.

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Banner-News. Oct. 24, 2017.

We recently commented here that the first step in meeting a particular need of a community is for someone or a group to recognize that the need exists.

That is exactly what happened in Emerson 23 years ago and, having recognized a significant need, a group of folks immediately decided to tap into the experience of another community that too had realized and met a need. That networking led to further resources and the result was recently described in a Banner-News article that told how, for the past 23 years, Emerson Community Outreach has provided no-cost food for residents in their small town who need it.

Five local women saw that the U.S. government food service that provided free goods every three months was not sufficient to meet the ongoing needs of impoverished residents so they set about to do something about it.

“Once every three months, they used to pass out what they called commodities and we wondered how we could get more food than just that,” Mary Hanson, longtime Emerson Community Outreach president, said in the Banner-News article.

She and Mildred Beene, Theresa Curtis, Dorothy Hardwell, and Brenda Waller, some of whom are now deceased, joined forces. First they looked to a community that had also seen the need in their town and three of them went to the nearby town of Stephens. People there described how they started and funded a successful food pantry.

Thus began the many years of making sure there is food on the tables of people in Emerson who desperately need it. There were logistics to work out at first and with help along the way from then-Councilman, now Mayor Don Moore, the group persevered and continues its mission today.

We salute these Emerson volunteers for seeing a need and taking it upon themselves to do something about it.


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